Greetings from French Polynesia!
As I write this, I discover myself a great distance from anyplace, on a tiny island in the course of the South Pacific Ocean. This a part of the world has been a vacation spot that I’ve lengthy aspired to go to, and I need to say it’s fairly surreal to lastly be right here.
Whereas my return journey continues to be open-ended, I’ve managed to attain some nice aspirational flights and stays on this very particular journey, and right here’s the way it all got here collectively.
As a few of chances are you’ll know, 2023 is about to mark a serious milestone in my life. I’ll be getting married this summer season, and my companion Jessy and I’ve been busy making all the mandatory preparations and getting ready for the momentous event.
The months main as much as the marriage can be very busy, and we’ve opted to front-load our travels to earlier on within the yr, particularly to a few of the extra far-flung locations on our listing.
Certainly, the distinctive pure great thing about Bora Bora makes it a poster youngster for aspirational journey, and a spot that has lengthy intrigued each of us.
With azure-blue water, coral reefs, and the ever-present Mount Otemanu towering within the background, there are various the reason why this place is named a world-class romantic vacation spot.
After getting engaged within the Maldives three years in the past, it additionally appeared becoming that we’d come right here to Bora Bora for a “pre-honeymoon” as we get set to embark on a much bigger journey collectively in a while this yr.
As we spend time high quality time collectively in the course of the South Pacific Ocean, it’s one other stark reminder of the reward of journey, in addition to the facility of Miles & Factors in unlocking some really unforgettable journey experiences.
As you’ll be able to think about, there isn’t quite a lot of alternative in terms of direct flights from North America to French Polynesia. To additional complicate issues, discovering a number of seats in a premium cabin on factors makes it much more tough, however not unattainable.
To get right here, we redeemed 80,000 American Airways AAdvantage miles per individual to fly from Los Angeles to Papeete with Air Tahiti Nui in enterprise class. Availability on this explicit route may be arduous to return by, however I booked this journey virtually a yr out and managed to lock within the seats.
For Jessy’s return journey to Vancouver, I booked her on an excellent, although maybe lesser-known, Aeroplan candy spot that leverages the distance-based pricing of the “Between North America and Pacific zones” chart.
For her flights from Papeete to Vancouver through San Francisco, I redeemed simply 53,400 Aeroplan factors, with the primary leg in United Polaris enterprise class and the second in Air Canada’s regional enterprise class.
The flights measure 4,989 miles in distance flown, which is available in a really satisfying 11 miles in need of crossing over into the following distance band at 5,000 miles.
Once more, enterprise class flights on this route are comparatively tough to return by, however fortunately on this case, United dropped quite a lot of house on the Papeete–San Francisco route comparatively last-minute.
Whereas I had initially secured seats on the Air Tahiti Nui’s new Papeete–Seattle route for 80,000 American miles, I swapped it for the United routing utilizing a decrease quantity of Aeroplan factors as quickly because it turned out there.
Whereas Jessy is flying dwelling to North America, I’ve booked myself in Air Tahiti Nui premium economic system from Papeete to Auckland for 25,000 American miles.
At simply 5 and a half hours lengthy, it’s actually not crucial to have a lie-flat seat on this flight, and I figured this can be a helpful evaluation for anybody headed to Bora Bora in premium economic system.
I’ll be persevering with my journey onwards from New Zealand, with flights, inns, and journey plans to be shared in a separate replace.
As I discussed earlier, that is very a lot a “pre-honeymoon”, because it’s a giant aspirational journey prematurely of our marriage ceremony in the summertime.
(Did I simply make up the time period “pre-honeymoon”? Perhaps, however it appears to have gone down nicely among the many inns the place we’ll be celebrating. 😉)
Previous to catching our flight to French Polynesia, we’d spend an evening on the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, one in every of Los Angeles’s most aspirational inns and one of many best-possible makes use of of a Hilton Free Evening Award.
Then, we’ll be spending a complete of two weeks in Bora Bora, divided up as follows.
Our first 5 nights are on the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, which I had booked virtually a yr out at a pre-devaluation price of 89,000 Hilton Honors factors per evening.
We took benefit of the Fifth Evening Free profit, and the keep totalled 356,000 factors, permitting me to lastly redeem a giant chunk of the Hilton Honors factors I had been saving up for years.
(These days, the resort prices 120,000 factors per evening, which is a major improve. Nonetheless, the Fifth Evening Free profit may be very useful in scoring the most effective worth when redeeming Hilton Honors factors right here.)
Factors redemptions ebook into the base-level Lagoon View Suite, however I used to be upgraded to a King Seashore Pool Villa previous to arrival due to my Hilton Diamond standing from my Amex US Hilton Aspire Card.
On this journey, we’re eager to check out some seashore villas after experiencing a handful of overwater villas within the Maldives on earlier journeys. Nonetheless, I would inquire a couple of additional improve to an overwater villa right here on the Conrad for one or two of the ultimate nights for some balanced reporting. 😉
After the Conrad, we’ll spend three days and two nights on the St. Regis Bora Bora. For this keep, I did a Money & Factors reserving for 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy factors + 40,000 XPF ($480 CAD) per evening for the St. Regis’s Beachside Villa.
Sadly, the resort’s base-level Backyard View Villa wasn’t out there on factors; nevertheless, this redemption additionally locks in our most popular room kind with none want for “suite-talking“. The truth is, the Beachside Villa really seems a bit higher than the Overwater Villas at this resort, so I’m fairly happy with the end result.
We determined to spend simply two days on the St. Regis as a result of, to be frank, the property seems a little bit bit outdated. As a fan of the model, I nonetheless needed to see what it was like, and I hope that it exceeds our expectations.
Each the Conrad and St. Regis include further boat switch charges of about 7,500 XPF ($90 CAD) per individual per course, which is fortunately a good bit lower than the Maldives’ seaplanes.
Our stays on the Conrad and St. Regis permit me to take a look at the most effective of Bora Bora’s resorts which are bookable on factors. Nevertheless, for the rest of the journey, I’ve splurged on a number of world-class properties which are solely bookable with money.
For our closing 5 nights, we booked two properties with money. We’ll spend three nights on the 4 Seasons Bora Bora, broadly thought-about to be the most effective property on the island, in addition to two nights at The Brando, a luxurious resort by itself non-public island of Tetiaroa that’s typically heralded as the most effective and most unique resorts on the earth.
To provide you a way of the value vary, public charges on the 4 Seasons Bora Bora begin at $2,500 (USD) per evening. In the meantime, The Brando’s charges may be present in their brochure, beginning at €2,900 per evening for the “Villa & Breakfast” price, or €3,900 per evening for the all-inclusive price.
Now, despite the fact that I managed to attain some journey business charges for these aspirational resorts in assist of our journey company, I wouldn’t precisely name them low-cost. The truth is, these are simply the very best quantities I’ve ever spent per evening for lodging in my life to this point.
Little question, I’m positively very lucky to be ready to pursue these experiences in service of each private and enterprise targets, and I’m very a lot wanting ahead to completely indulging within the expertise.
On the 4 Seasons, we’re very eager to completely immerse ourselves in true five-star luxurious. The resort’s overwater bungalows and beachfront villas have lately been renovated, which is able to give us a way of the trendy course the idyllic resort is headed.
We’ll make sure to marvel on the island’s pure magnificence from the beautiful consolation of our One-Bed room Mountain View Overwater Bungalow, gazing out at Mount Otemanu in the course of the day and dropping ourselves within the unspoiled Tahitian sky at evening.
Our keep at The Brando would be the second we’ve had on a non-public luxurious island, following Calala Island in Nicaragua. Calling this resort upscale is unquestionably an understatement, because it’s really an atoll composed of a dozen small islands surrounding a marvellous lagoon.
To additional add to its attract, the island might solely be accessed by non-public aircraft, which is certain to offer us with a way of seclusion and exclusivity in one of many world’s most lovely locales. As soon as extra, we plan to completely immerse ourselves within the expertise as we calm down on white-sand seashores and soak within the resort’s distinctive wildlife.
To entry all of those experiences, I’ve wanted to ebook inter-island transportation between Tahiti and Bora Bora, which might solely be booked with one in every of two airways (Air Tahiti or a brand new startup airline Air Moana), or through a ferry service that sadly didn’t line up with my dates.
Flights with Air Tahiti value about $400 (USD) per individual round-trip, which isn’t completely unreasonable, although is actually one other layer of value to contemplate in terms of planning a visit to French Polynesia.
I’ll be sharing a future article concerning the logistics and prices concerned in a Bora Bora journey, in addition to evaluating our expertise right here in opposition to what’s provided on the earth’s different premier vacation spot for aspirational overwater villas, the Maldives.
Prematurely of getting married this summer season, my companion Jessy and I’ve launched into an aspirational “pre-honeymoon” journey to French Polynesia, the place we’ll stay within the lap of luxurious over the course of the following two weeks.
As one of many world’s most iconic locations, Bora Bora is on the highest of many bucket lists, together with our personal. Presently, I really feel notably grateful to be ready to mix a private and a enterprise journey out to this a part of the world, whereas spending some high quality time with Jessy forward of our marriage ceremony.
Reserving flights to this a part of the world and accessing a few of its extra luxurious properties positively got here with some further legwork, together with planning this journey virtually a yr forward of time, which is certain to be well worth the worth of admission.
Along with the customary flight and lodge opinions (of which I count on the phrase counts to be fairly in depth), I look ahead to providing some additional insights concerning the logistics, pricing, and general planning course of for a visit to Bora Bora as a part of this journey assortment, to assist these of you who’re serious about the same once-in-a-lifetime journey make it a actuality.